Starting from scratch


End of Support notice! Acquia has stopped support for Dev Desktop on June 30, 2021. Acquia recommends that you transition to Acquia Cloud IDE for a managed development environment on Cloud Platform. For more information, see Migrating from Dev Desktop to Cloud IDE.

Acquia also provides limited integration with Lando as an open source alternative to Cloud IDE.

If you are installing Drupal from scratch with Acquia Dev Desktop, watch the following 2-minute video about installing Drupal.

To create a new Drupal application from one of a variety of popular Drupal distributions:

  1. In the Acquia Dev Desktop window, click +, and then click New Drupal site.

    If you are starting from the Welcome to Acquia to Dev Desktop dialog box displayed in the Getting started with Acquia Dev Desktop page, skip this step. Ensure you select PHP version compatible with the Drupal version you’re installing.

  2. Select a Drupal distribution to start from, and then click Install.

Choosing a Drupal distribution

A Drupal distribution is a curated package of Drupal software including Drupal core, Drupal contributed modules, themes, libraries, and installation profiles. While you can use most Drupal distributions with Acquia Dev Desktop, Acquia Dev Desktop links to a selection of popular Drupal distributions for easy installation. If you aren’t sure which distribution to start with, use Drupal 8.

For more information about choosing a Drupal distribution, read Distributions and Additional distribution documentation on

The Install a Drupal distribution (Step 2) dialog box displays.

Click Finish to install the selected distribution using the default options, or change them by completing the following steps:

  1. Enter the path of the destination folder where Acquia Dev Desktop should install the Drupal application codebase. Acquia Dev Desktop bases the default folder name on the sites folder you selected when you installed Acquia Dev Desktop, with a subfolder based on your selected Drupal distribution and version.

  2. Click Change to select a different folder.

  3. Enter a name for your local application. Acquia Dev Desktop bases the local application URL on the name you enter, so be sure to use characters valid for a URL.

  4. Select a PHP version to use.

    You can accept the default PHP version, but some Drupal distributions or modules require specific PHP versions.

  5. Specify how to set up the database for your Drupal application. If you are starting from scratch, select Create a new database.

    For other options, see Importing a database.

  6. Enter a name for your Drupal application’s database. Typically, you can accept the default value, which will match the local site name you chose earlier.

  7. Click Finish.

Acquia Dev Desktop downloads the distribution you selected and extracts it in your local Drupal codebase folder.

Completing the installation

After you finish installing the Drupal distribution using Acquia Dev Desktop, you must finish setting up the Drupal application using Drupal.

  1. In Acquia Dev Desktop, select your site name, and click the local application URL.

    Acquia Dev Desktop uses the Apache web server to handle the URL request, and the Drupal install page for your new application opens in a browser window.

  2. What happens next depends on which Drupal distribution you selected. The Drupal install page completes the installation of your application, including installing Drupal core and modules, and setting up the application’s database. In most cases, Drupal will prompt you to complete the configuration of your application with administration account information.

After you finish installing your Drupal application, you can now develop it and add content to meet your organization’s needs. If you are hosting your application on Cloud Platform, see Hosting a site on Cloud Platform for information about syncing your local application with Cloud Platform.